Rewarding resolutions

January 11, 2010

by Jenni Sebora

The start of the New Year means the start of new resolutions.

For me, this is always refreshing. One of the reasons I really enjoy teaching is because there is always a “new year.” There is a beginning and an end. The start of a new school year is always open to new possibilities for each student and teacher. It is the start of a fresh, new year.

Here we are again, a fresh new year. My resolutions include the continuation of exercise, eating healthier and improving communication with my children.

Improving our relationships are important goals. Relationships with our children are so rewarding, yet can be very difficult at times. As our children are growing, we are their models, their teachers, their supervisors, their partners, their mentors. It is our job to teach them about positive behavior and responsibility.

As our children are maneuvering their way through their growth, it seems that they can present us with some challenges. We tend to call it misbehavior; when often their behavior is a part of their development and their learning process. We need to teach them about what is right and wrong.

There are questions we can ask ourselves when our children are presenting us with some challenging behavior.

Do I always say no? Do I have a tendency to scream and yell? Am I expecting too much for my child’s age and development? Am I too strict? Am I asking something of them that they are not capable of doing at this time in their development? Have there been some major changes in our family, home, lives? Am I under a lot of stress or pressure?

What can we do?

We should have knowledge about children’s growth and development.

We need to really listen to our children. It is amazing what listening to our children will do for their trust in us. It does not always mean we agree with what they are saying, but we are taking the time to listen to their viewpoint, and they will more than likely be willing to continue to communicate with us if we allow them their time to talk and be heard. It gives them validation.

We need to try and understand their feelings and validate them, too. We also need to praise the behavior that we want to encourage and grow.

Individual attention to each of our children is important. It, again, allows them to feel that they are important individuals to us.

Limit our “No’s.” Sometimes we mean “Yes, but just not at this time.” Restating our responses can help.

Our guidelines need to be clear and understandable to our children.

We also need to take care of ourselves, too. If we want to meet our children’s needs, we need to meet our own needs, too.

(Source: Bellflower Center for Prevention of Child Abuse, the Learning Curve 1996; and my own experiences)

Happy New Year and happy resolutions and rewarding relationships with our families. What is more important than that?